Sesame Noodles & Ginger Sauce

July 14th, 2011 / comments 3

adirondack chair l Sesame Noodles & Ginger Sauce

Watercolor painting by Carol Egbert

Saturday, white puffy clouds danced across the cobalt blue sky, the grass was freshly mowed and my Kindle was giving me that ‘come hither’ look. It was a day to make one of my favorite (nearly) no-cook, (almost) zero effort dinners. This dinner has four steps:

  • Determine menu
  • See what’s in the pantry and fridge
  • Go to market for what isn’t
  • Pull dinner together

Charles and I decided to split the tasks. I decided we would have roasted chicken with pink ginger sauce, sesame noodles and a nectarine salad. I found soy sauce, cayenne pepper, vinegar, canola oil, garlic, honey, sesame seeds and sesame oil in the pantry and mayonnaise, sour cream, catsup and pickled ginger in the fridge. Charles went to the market to get a rotisserie cooked chicken, a box of pasta, scallions, fresh ginger and some nectarines. I got lost in my book and snoozed a bit.

When I woke up, I put a large pot of water on the stove over medium heat. In less than half an hour after Charles returned from the market, we sat down to an Asian inspired summer dinner. Here’s how we did it:

… read more

Non-Alcoholic Party Drinks & Infused Waters

June 29th, 2011 / comments 9

After a warm welcome and brief introductions, the first question at most dinner parties is, “Red or white?” I rarely drink wine so my response is usually “Anything non-alcoholic would be fine.”

pitcher Non Alcoholic Party Drinks & Infused Waters

Watercolor painting by Carol Egbert

Often the choice is water, either still, fizzy or flavored, from a plastic bottle. Perhaps some of my non-alcoholic drink combinations will inspire you and at your next party you will ask your guests, “Red, white, spicy, fruity, sweet, minty, on the rocks or straight up?”

ginger ale label Non Alcoholic Party Drinks & Infused Waters

Label for your Ginger Syrup

Ginger ale made by the glass has a bright flavor and the ginger zing can be adjusted to suit the sipper. Not only do I use ginger syrup to make ginger ale, I also use it instead of sugar or honey to add zip to hot or iced tea. A pitcher of lime/ginger fizz along with the bottles of reds and whites makes every guest feel well taken care of. Ginger and clove syrups keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I have created labels for both that can be downloaded and printed by clicking here. I use the home brewers’ trick of using milk as the glue to stick the label to the bottle.Here’s how I make it: … read more

Molasses Pumpkin Pie

November 17th, 2010 / comments 6

Pumpkin pie is not only my favorite holiday pie, it is also my favorite winter breakfast. The traditional pie for my family was made using the recipe printed on the can of cooked pumpkin until I changed it after I tasted a pie sweetened with molasses and topped with gingered, whipped cream.


golden flowers Molasses Pumpkin Pie

Here’s how I did it: … read more

Gingersnap – Brunkage – Pepparkakor – World Favorite Cookie

August 4th, 2010 / comments 6

Ginger is one of the most versatile ingredients in my kitchen. I have ground ginger in the spice drawer, fresh ginger root in a ceramic crock and crystallized ginger in a jar in the pantry. I make ginger tea by simmering slices of fresh ginger in water with a bit of brown sugar. Served cold, it is a caffeine free substitute for iced tea that I enjoy in the evening. I put ginger in everything from to stir-fries to meatloaf, and it is always present in the form of gingersnap cookies. They are a mainstay in Charles’ diet. He can resist chocolate cake, banana splits and candy bars but he has an undeniable gingersnap habit – he ends every lunch with a gingersnap.

cookie jars c egbert Gingersnap   Brunkage   Pepparkakor   World Favorite Cookie

So, when he reached into the Chinese cookie jar on Monday and found only a teaspoon of crumbs, something had to be done so I suggested that we make a batch of gingersnaps.

Spiced cookies were popular during the Middle Ages, not only because they tasted good but also because the ginger and the honey used to make them were valued for their health benefits. Ginger flavored cookies are called brunkage in Danish, pepparkakor in Swedish and lebkuchen in German and ginger nuts in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

two girls c egbert Gingersnap   Brunkage   Pepparkakor   World Favorite CookieIt may be the zip of ginger, cinnamon and cloves or the sweetness of molasses and brown sugar that has made them so popular, but I think it’s the childhood memories that this sweet treat triggers that make them the favorite of so many.

Gingersnaps are crisp sugar cookies that are easy for even an inexperienced baker to make. Charles’ gingersnap lesson began by gathering the tools and ingredients we would need. I took the butter out of the fridge so that it could warm to room temperature and he gathered measuring spoons and cups. Our first problem was that there was only half a teaspoon of dry ginger and our second problem was that the molasses jar was nearly empty. Things weren’t looking good. Our neighbors were at the beach so we couldn’t borrow molasses and ginger from them and we wanted to fill the cookie jar without driving to the market. With a bit of improvisation we succeeded. Here’s how we did it: … read more

Korean Pork Tenderloin for Homecoming

May 19th, 2010 / comments 4

Friday, we celebrated homecomings – our return from Sicily and the return of two other couples from Australia. We were all delighted to be back and decided to share a meal. I offered to bring roasted pork tenderloin and asked if I could cook it in my friend’s oven while we enjoyed appetizers and shared travel stories.

pig 01 c egbert Korean Pork Tenderloin for Homecoming

When tenderloins were on sale, I stocked up. I prepared them for roasting by removing the silver skin, a shiny membrane that is attached on one side. I slipped the tip of a sharp paring knife under the silver skin and removed it in long strips. If it is not removed, the silver skin shrinks, becomes tough and makes the tenderloin curl when it is cooked. It took less time to do than to describe and the reward is succulent roast pork without a tough piece of silver skin attached to each slice. I put the trimmed tenderloins into individual re-sealable plastic bags.

The next step was the preparation of the marinade. A marinade is a liquid, similar to a salad dressing, used to flavor and tenderize meat. It is a mixture of an acid – citrus juice, vinegar, or wine; an oil – olive, grape seed, or vegetable; flavorings – herbs, spices, citrus zest, flavored oils; something sweet – brown sugar, honey or maple syrup; something spicy – garlic, ginger, chili, mustard, or horseradish; and, something savory – soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or fish sauce. A marinade can be as simple as vinegar, oil, salt and pepper or a complex mixture of many flavors. Measurements need not be precise. Generally I use half as much oil as acid, and no more than two tablespoons of sugar or honey for each 1 cup/240 ml  of liquid. Creating a marinade is fun and an opportunity to experiment. I taste as I go and keep notes, the possibilities are endless. I’ve found that it takes about 1/3 cup/80 ml of marinade for 1 pound/500 gr of meat.

pomagranate c egbert 01 Korean Pork Tenderloin for HomecomingI create marinades with combinations of ingredients that suggest particular cuisines. I have used white wine, olive oil, thyme and parsley when I wanted something that tasted French. When I was wishing I were in Morocco, I mixed pomegranate molasses, orange juice, cinnamon and grape seed oil. Vietnam came to mind when I used lemon grass, fish sauce, lime juice and green chilies. The tenderloin I took to the party had been seasoned with a bold, spicy Korean marinade. Here’s how I made it: … read more

Cinnamon Toast for Santa’s Helpers

December 22nd, 2009 / comments 4

Last December, after I had mailed out the final gift boxes of cookies to friends, I realized that I had forgotten to save cookies to serve to Christmas Eve visitors and any of Santa’s helpers who might stop by.

Pt Peace Bell c egbert copy 314x305 Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

Out of time, frosting and cookie-baking energy, I wondered if the adage, “less is more” was true and then I remembered my breakfast in bed at the Colony Club twenty years earlier.

Pt Four girls c egbert Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

The Colony Club, established in 1902, was the first social club for women in New York City. It is an elegant and very private club with members whose last names range from Astor to Whitney. I spent a weekend there as the guest of my friend Jean. She was my guide in the culinary world and to the rarified dining of the Colony Club. As we planned my trip to New York, she took me under her wing and insisted that my day begin with “perfect Colony Club cinnamon toast” served on a tray in my bedroom. Perfect cinnamon toast? I had my doubts but Jean was a Manhattan matron with a sophisticated palate who was not to be denied. She ordered my breakfast, it was perfect and I’ve never thought of cinnamon toast in the same way since. Inspired by that memory I decided that Colony Club Cinnamon toast would be perfect Christmas Eve treat. Here’s how I made it: … read more

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